On this week’s episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour, Dan invites “one of his favorite people in the entire investing universe” back onto the show.
He’s the author of several must-read investing books, including 100 Baggers: Stocks that Return 100-to-1 and How to Find Them.
And his most recent book, How Do You Know?: A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing, & Life, won the 2019 S.I. Hayakawa Book Prize, a prestigious honor awarded by the Institute of General Semantics.
Chris Mayer joins the show to talk about some of the highest-upside stocks you’ll find anywhere in the stock market.
During their conversation, Chris gives Dan a full run-down of what he looks for to find stocks with the potential to reach 100x returns.
That may sound like an outrageous quest with a wildly improbable chance of success… but when Chris studied hundreds of 100-baggers of the past, he found that several definitive patterns emerged…
He explains the key characteristics of these massive winners, and why you don’t need an M.B.A. or degree in advanced finance to find these stocks…
Chris even shares the name and ticker symbol of a handful of lesser-known stocks that he loves right now… stocks in high-growth industries, with genius business models, including one he calls “the Berkshire of software companies.”
It’s extremely rare an Investor Hour guest delivers so many names of stocks with so much upside potential…
So, make sure you have a pen and paper handy to jot down the name of some of these companies and their ticker symbols.
If you’re looking for higher gains to help boost your portfolio, this is a conversation you won’t want to miss.
Listen to Dan’s conversation with Chris and much more on this week’s episode.
Portfolio Manager and Co-Founder, Woodlock House Family Capital.
Christopher W. Mayer is the portfolio manager and co-founder of Woodlock House Family Capital, a private investment fund. He has written four books, including 100 Baggers: Stocks That Return 100 to 1 And How to Find Them... and most recently, How Do You Know? A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing & Life, which won the 2019 S.I. Hayakawa book prize awarded by the Institute of General Semantics. Chris has traveled to over 30 countries in search of great investment ideas.
5:17 – “Knowing how to handle your emotions turns out to be one of the most important things [for an investor] … Even the father of value investing, Ben Graham, said your biggest enemy is not the market, it’s yourself.”
7:26 – Dan takes a lesson from Alex Honnold, one of the world’s greatest free-climbers and star of the movie Free Solo… “There is no adrenaline rush. If I get a rush, that means something has gone horribly wrong. The whole thing should be pretty slow and controlled…”
12:13 – The quote of the week comes from the book, Mastery by Robert Greene… “The need for certainty is the greatest disease the mind faces…”
15:25 – This week Dan invites Chris Mayer onto the show. Chris is the portfolio manager and Co-founder at Woodlock House Family Capital, a private investment fund. He has written several books including 100 Baggers: Stocks that Return 100-to-1 and How to Find Them, and most recently, How Do You Know?: A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing, & Life, which won the 2019 S.I. Hayakawa Book Prize.
20:41 – Dan and Chris discuss the pros and cons of one of the most polarizing sites on the internet…
25:20 – Dan asks Chris about Constellation Software (CSU), one of his favorite long-term picks that is approaching 100x returns…
26:42 – Chris tells Dan about one of his favorite stocks, Topicus (TOITF: OTCMKTS)… The company’s unique approach has been incredibly profitable, and Chris describes it as “the Berkshire of software companies…”
28:40 – Chris shares another name he loves, Vitec (OTCMKTS: VTEPF), an even smaller firm based in the U.S., that uses a similar approach…
33:55 – Chris explains how he looks for “cheap” stocks… “If you think longer term, some of these businesses that may look expensive today, start to look cheaper because you see the compounding effect of their ability to earn those higher returns and reinvest…”
42:40 – Chris shares some lessons we can learn from some of the oldest businesses on Earth… “Japan has an outsized number of companies that have been around for a long time. In fact, they have a bunch of companies that have been around for more than 1,000 years…”
49:18 – Dan asks Chris what investments he’s excited about at current valuations… “The last two businesses that I bought were in the first quarter… and I bought Topicus and I bought Evolution Gaming in Sweden… I think all of these are great businesses to own long-term.”
52:10 – Chris leaves the listeners with one final idea as the interview closes… “Be very patient with your investments. Spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to invest in, and then when you invest in it, leave it alone… Time is the essential element and patience is key…”
59:36 – On the mailbag this week we’ve got a ton of great questions. One listener writes in asking Dan about some gold and silver trusts he’s recommended… Another listener points out that last week, Dan forgot to mention inverse ETFs when he answered a listener question about the easiest ways to short stocks… And another asks Dan’s thoughts about when to consider purchasing permanent life insurance. Listen to Dan’s response to this and much more on this week’s episode.
Announcer: Broadcasting from the Investor Hour Studios and all around the world, you're listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. [Music plays] Tune in each Thursday on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you find podcasts for the latest episodes of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at investorhour.com. Here's your host, Dan Ferris.
Dan Ferris: Hello and welcome to the Stansberry Investor Hour. I'm your host, Dan Ferris. I’m also the editor of Extreme Value published by Stansberry Research. Today, we'll talk with my old friend, Chris Mayer. Chris is probably the best investor I know who came out of the newsletter publishing world. Wonderful guy, great investor, lots to talk about with him. This week in the mailbag, lots of love for last week's interview with Lawrence Lindsey. And we have questions about gold, crypto, life insurance, and life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
And remember. The mailbag is a conversation, so talk to me. Call our listener feedback line 800-381-2357 and hear your voice on the show. In my opening rant this week, I'll talk about emotions in trading. You have to do it sometime [laughs]. Let's do it today. That and more right now on the Stansberry Investor Hour. Why talk about emotions? Well, because they can lose you a lot of money. You know, from an investment perspective that's why you want to talk about emotions. And I just went to focus on one thing. And that one thing is how bad we are at knowing how we'll feel when some future condition is met. There are positive and negative examples, right?
So we think – maybe, let's just say, we think something like, "Wow. If I just had an extra $100,000 my problems would be solved. I'd feel wonderful. Life would be so good." Then you get the extra $100,000 and, within a day or two, you're like, "Eh." And it's the same thing when we think we need something new. "Oh, my. I wish I had a new car." You know? And when I was young – when you're young and you don't have anything – you really learn about this – "If I just had a new car, everything would be so much better." You get the new car for 24 hours, you're bragging about it and showing it to your friends. And then, you feel like, "Eh. Doesn't matter so much."
And the negative example is – well, wait a minute. Let's just do one more positive example, because this... it's not just that you kind of don't appreciate how much that $100,000 will kind of not mean anything after a day or two. It's more than that. And I would go so far as to say... from my personal observations, even if people work very hard for it, when you make life-changing money, let's just say – whatever that is for you, $5 million, $100 million, I don't know, $500 million – in general, people tend to behave differently and not so great. And I think it's just too difficult to handle it. It's just really hard to handle a gigantic sum of money.
And that's why we, you know, kind of make rich people into heroes. You know, if there is a legitimate reason to do so. One of the reasons is that it's so hard to – it's hard enough to make a whole lot of money, life-changing money. It's really hard to hang on to it. I've seen so many people get windfalls in their lives and just their behavior changes and they start spending money like a drunken sailor and start behaving in different ways. And, you know, life kind of goes downhill for some period of time. It's unusual that that doesn’t happen.
And so, if you're successful as an investor you wake up one day and go, "Wow. I have all the money I'll ever need." You know, hooray. And then, you know, you got to be careful that you don't behave differently from that point on. And the negative examples are when the market – the big negative example is when the market drops 30 or 40%, right? We're bad at knowing how we'll feel and how we'll behave when that happens. We think, "Oh, I'll be OK. I'm disciplined. You know, I'm a good investor. When the market drops 30%, I'm going to invest my cash and buy when the big dip" – or whatever, right? "I'm going to buy value. I'm going to do whatever is right. I'm going to buy when the market's down."
And then, the market drops 30 or 40% and the news – well, we could use a – we could use a real example. We don't have to make one up. Then the news is, there's this COVID pandemic [laughs] in March of 2020. "Oh, wow. How bad is this going to get? The world's shut down. They shut down the world. They're never going to open it up." So you start panicking and you start feeling a lot differently and behaving differently than you anticipated you would. So knowing how to handle your emotions turns out to be like one of the most important things. Even the father of value investing, Ben Graham, said, "Your biggest enemy is not the market. It's yourself." Right?
And many people have said the same thing. And I came upon this – you know, every week, I try to think of something that we just – a topic that we can't avoid, right? These are topics – I'm trying to hit topics we can't avoid. Last week, I talked about inflation. You can't avoid inflation over time. It is a relentless force. We must talk about it. And people have been talking about it a little more lately, so I know it's probably on your mind. And it should be. And emotions are the same way and how you'll handle wonderful things that happen to you and bad things that happen to you.
You'll probably handle them differently than what you currently anticipated unless you go to some trouble to do otherwise. Great traders. And I was thinking about this because we're going to put out a book of some of our interviews. And I was editing some of it – or, you know, some of it was edited for me and I needed to go through it and go behind and make sure everything looked OK. And I was looking at the Jack Schwager interview. And that was a great interview with Jack Schwager. Great guy. You know, lots of wisdom there for years and years and years interviewing all these great traders.
And Schwager talks a lot about emotions because a lot – all the traders that he interviewed – except for one – they all say everything that they do as a trader is to get emotion out of the equation, right? It's so that they can just home in on what's important and not let their emotions cause them to make a bad decision. And he reminded me in that interview of a piece that was actually on 60 Minutes 10 years ago, I think October 2011. It's called "The Ascent of Alex Honnold." Alex Honnold is that young guy who climbs basically small mountains and rocks, big rocks and small mountains. I mean, he climbed a 3,000-foot cliff. That's a mountain to me – with no ropes.
He made a movie – there was a movie made about him called Free Solo. And he uses no ropes and he climbs up these things. If he falls, he dies. It's crazy. And the beginning of that interview on 60 Minutes back in October 2011 Laura Logan was the interviewer. And she said at the very beginning, the first question, "Do you feel the adrenaline at all?" And Honnold said, "There is no adrenaline rush. If I get a rush, it means something has gone horribly wrong. The whole thing should be pretty slow and controlled." And then, he said, "I mean, it's mellow." [Laughs] OK?
So if that exercise needs to be mellow, if everything you do in that needs to be mellow, then... and if it can be done – I mean, he's like the one person in the world who can do it – maybe we can learn to control our emotions as traders. Because I know a lot of you listening to the sound of my voice right now are actively trading in and out. I'm not a trader, but I read a lot about traders and various things that traders do because I think it's important. And one of them is, they control their emotions. How do they control their emotions? What do you do as an investor or trader to control your emotions? Well, you have a plan. You know what you're going to do ahead of time, no matter what.
And with traders, the basic thing they do to control their emotions is, they have a system that identifies entry and exit points and they don't care how they – it doesn't matter how they feel. If the system – if their system indicates an entry, they enter the trade. If their system indicates it's time to exit, they exit the trade. There's no feelings involved. It doesn't matter if you won or lost on the trade. It just matters if your system said, "You should enter here and exit there." And if you're going to manage your money with your hand on the stick, you're not just putting money into a 401(k) and putting it in an index fund and leaving it at that, you're really buying and selling individuals stocks actively or options or whatever it is – you must have some kind of a plan like that.
You must know under what conditions – "What am I looking to buy, when will I buy it, and under what conditions will I exit? When do I sell?" And those are the basic things you do. The other thing that these traders do is, they position-size. "How much?" They know when. They know how much. And they know what, right? They're trading futures, they're trading options, whatever it is. So they know what, when, how much. They answer those basic questions about how they're going to operate with real money. So that's why emotions are important. Because they can wreck you.
And, also, the reason they can wreck you is because you're very bad at knowing how you're going to handle them in the future. And if you just – if you don't have these kinds of plans and you know what you're trading and when you're entering and when you're exiting, under what conditions you're doing all of the stuff, you will make a mistake... a potentially big one. And, you know, none of these traders make big mistakes because they all control their position sizes and their entry and their exit. They don’t let a losing position go on. Peter Brandt is one of these market wizard guys, and we interviewed him on the show.
And he has this rule where he says, "You know, if the trade is not – if I'm not ahead, if I'm in a loss with a trade on a Friday, I don't hold it through the weekend." And he said that, you know – Schwager told me about that. And he said it saved him a ton of money over time. Because you never know what's going to happen for two days while the market's closed, and then you wake up Monday and you get a small loss on a Friday that can turn into a big one Monday morning. So that's a rule that Brandt likes to follow, right? So control your emotions. And my quote of the week is related to this topic. I was going through a book – I actually read a book called Mastery by Robert Greene.
And I didn't anticipate that I would like it, but I loved it. It had lots of great biographical-type stories about people like Leonardo da Vinci and Freddie Roach, the boxer trainer, and some other folks. and it was really an excellent read and I would recommend Mastery, by Robert Greene. But I came across this quote in there that floored me. He said, "The need for certainty is the greatest disease the mind faces." The need for certainty is the greatest disease the mind faces. And that falls hard upon all this emotional stuff because the typical novice – a typical novice trading situation is, you think that chart patterns give you 100% certainty, so you bet your whole wad and then you're down 50% and you say, "Well, the chart pattern," blah blah. You know, "I've got certainties. I'm going to hang on."
And then you're down 90% and you lose it all or whatever. That's a typical thing. Whereas, real traders say, "I'm never going to bet more than half a percent or 1% of my portfolio on any individual trade, and I'm always going to cut my losses quickly." Right? So those people, they're never out of control. They never make that novice mistake. They're highly disciplined and their emotions are taken out of the equation. "The need for certainty is the greatest disease the mind faces." If you don't understand that your need for certainty is screwing you up, you can get into big trouble. Great quote. Really great quote and a good book. All right. That’s all I have for you today. Let's go talk to my old friend Chris Mayer. Let's do it right now. [Music plays and stops]
So I need to talk to everyone seriously here for just a minute, because right now we're in this weird, emotional market with a lot of fear and greed controlling what the average investor is doing with their money. That's why we're seeing a lot of money pouring into crazy investments like NFTs and meme stocks and penny cryptos. People see the market still near record highs and they're scared of getting left behind. They want to be part of all the hot money-making stories we're hearing right now. But really, for most people, unfortunately it's a bunch of crap. You're probably going to lose everything chasing speculative gains like that. Just ask someone who bought AMC stock or a bunch of Dogecoin a few months ago.
It's the exact opposite of how I approach investing. That's why I'd like for you to check out a new video I just posted online at extremevaluestock.com. In the video, I'm sharing details of a fantastic risk-averse value stock opportunity that my research is showing could return about 200% over the next 24 months. I'd love for you to check it all out by heading over to extremevaluestock.com. But please hurry because the stock I'll be telling you about is getting close to exceeding my buy-up-to price recommendation. And once it does, I'll probably have to take the video offline.
So one more time. To learn the details, head over to extremevaluestock.com today. That's extremevaluestock.com. [Music plays and stops] Very much looking forward to today's interview. Chris Mayer is one of my favorite people in the whole investment universe. What can I say? Chris is the portfolio manager and co-founder of Woodlock House Family Capital, a private investment fund. He has written four books, including 100-Baggers: Stocks that Return 100-to-1 and How to Find them. And most recently, he wrote, How do You know: A Guide to Clear Thinking About Wall Street, Investing, and Life which won the 2019 S.I. Hayakawa book prize awarded by the Institute of General Semantics. Chris has traveled to over 30 countries in search of great investment ideas. Chris, welcome back, man.
Chris Mayer: Hey. Good to be on with you, Dan, as always.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Well, you know, I don't think I knew about the Hayakawa Prize. So much-belated congratulations on that.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. Thank you. I mean, that book – you know, it's more an intellectual kind of book. It's not a 100 Baggers I tell people. But kind of a funny story, because when I went to present that to a publisher, I presented the idea. And, you know, they thought it would sell. And they were right [laughs], but, but it did get some attention in some areas, so that was nice to win the Hayakawa Award. That was a nice, you know... appreciation for it. And it was one of those books I just had to write myself. You know, I had it in me, it was bursting out and I had to get it done regardless of whether it sold or not.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. So I remember asking you about this topic of general semantics. And I know nothing about it. You recommended some books, and I don't remember if I bought them or not. They might be in here somewhere. I have too many books. But what the heck is general semantics? What is it?
Chris Mayer: Yeah. It's kind of a hard thing to describe because it's sort of a broad discipline. But I would say – the way I think of it, it's kind of an aid to critical thinking. And it has a lot of different tools that help you sort through problems. And so, it started with a guy named Alfred Korzybski who wrote a big, fat, difficult book about it called Science and Sanity, which came out in 1933. Eight-hundred pages, a lot of footnotes and math. I wouldn't recommend anybody start with that. [Laughs]
But there are a lot of other smart people since. I mean, Hayakawa wrote some very accessible books about it. Wendell Johnson... Neil Postman wrote a book called Crazy Talk which is just very accessible... Irving Lee... So there's been other people who talk about it. But it generally deals with how we use our language and how different models affect the way we think. So I know that's sort of general, but I guess that's the best I can do.
Dan Ferris: I'm kind of grateful that, you know, you didn't get any more technical with that.
Chris Mayer: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: [Laughs] It sounds like you can really get very deep in the weeds of an 800-page book that's about – you know, as you described it... and it has math in it?
Chris Mayer: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: I mean, that's interesting.
Chris Mayer: Imagine that.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. I mean, math and it's kind of about language and problem-solving.
Chris Mayer: That's it. That's it, exactly. I like that kind of stuff. I mean, even now I just picked up a book called Maxims for Thinking Analytically: The Wisdom of Richard Zeckhauser. He was a Harvard professor. And it was very similar. Kind of reminds me of some of these things. because he has lots of little maxims and ideas that will aim to improve your critical thinking. So yeah.
Dan Ferris: You also mentioned Neil Postman. Man, I’m a fan of Neil Postman.
Chris Mayer: Me too
Dan Ferris: And his books are all very accessible.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I love Neil Postman's stuff. I've read most of his books, and I guess he's most famous for – help me out, Dan. You know the one I'm talking about.
Dan Ferris: Amusing Ourselves to Death.
Chris Mayer: That's it. Amusing Ourselves to Death is the one he's most famous for, and that's the one I would recommend to people to start with. And once you read that, you can find your way to the other books.
Dan Ferris: Right. Yeah.
Chris Mayer: But there's a lot of great social criticism in there... things about technology. And I think the big idea I came away with from Postman – which is an idea he took from Marshall McLuhan – is this idea that, you know... and McLuhan's aphorism to medium is a message where how we communicate impacts what you can say and the kinds of messages you can deliver. So I remember Postman's extreme example of this was, he said, you know, "Smoke signals. If you use smoke signals, you can't talk about philosophy when you're communicating by smoke signals."
And that makes a clear case where the medium impacts what you can say. And I think about that a lot in the context of, say, Twitter – which I'm active on. You know, Twitter in the medium itself certainly impacts what you say. People are trying to get likes and retweets and favorites and their followers. And then, there's the character limit. So certainly, it impacts the kinds of conversations you have, what kinds of topics you discuss and bring up. I mean, all these mediums have that kind of impact.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Weak-minded fools like me get on Twitter and it's just straight into the gutter. I mean, you know, it went from like value investing and bottom-up equity analysis to like, you know, screaming about climate change and stuff. It's just [laughs] it went straight downhill.
Chris Mayer: Right. Well, the system encourages you... System encourages you to do that because those are the kinds of statements that are likely to get more attention too. And I notice that my own use of it has evolved greatly. I remember in the beginning when I was still stumbling around and not sure what to do with it, I'd be one of those guys who would put personal things on there too. I would have pictures of where I was or, you know, what I was eating. You know, people do that. I stopped doing that long ago, thankfully. But I use it now pretty much strictly for business. If I'm reading something that's interesting, I'll put it on there. If I read something I think people would like, I put it on there. There'll be days at a time where I don't tweet anything, and then I might be on there and tweet three or four things.
So I've learned to manage it now. I got kind of a love-hate relationship with it. Because on the one hand, I hate that it sort of draws you all the time to say something. You know? You know you have all these followers and you just feel like you could waste a lot of time on there. I mean, I've had times where I'm sitting on Twitter and 40 minutes goes by and I'm like, "What have I just done? I just wasted a bunch of time and it's like junk food for the mind. But when you manage it well, I think it can be a useful tool. I've met a number of interesting investors through Twitter, and we've shared research and notes on different names. So from that standpoint, it's been invaluable.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. You can cultivate a really good Twitter feed if you want to.
Chris Mayer: Yes.
Dan Ferris: You can put people in your feed that are, you know, consistent and high-quality. And I believe that I do have a pretty good one. But you know what? Humans are humans, and it doesn't matter how much cultivate – like, you know, the lower-brow sort of topics and comments – it always comes in there. And I call it lower brow on purpose because I feel like it pulls me down. I feel like, you know, IQ points are draining as I'm commenting [laughs].
Chris Mayer: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. I agree with that. Sometimes you feel dumber–
Dan Ferris: Yep
Chris Mayer: For having been on it. But it's also – you know, the other thing is, I talk about investors who I've met. I mean, it's a global network. And it has this button where you can easily translate tweets. So, you know, I've been researching companies in Sweden and I've been able to talk to and converse with investors over there that I probably would otherwise have had a hard time finding. Same is true – I remember I was looking at a name in Mexico, and I've got a good relationship there with a pretty smart investor in Mexico now. I mean, just about anywhere in the world if you're looking, you just share a little something about what you're doing on Twitter, somebody may reach out and say, "Hey. You know, I know that name," or this or that. And you've got a great contact.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. And I have to say, just for our listeners, Chris has a great Twitter feed. I mean, it's really – he's much more disciplined than I am. And it's all business, and it's really, really well-focused on, you know, bottom-up investing ideas.
Chris Mayer: Well, thank you. And I try. It's by design. It takes a great deal of discipline. Believe me.
Dan Ferris: Oh, I get it. Believe me. And I'm the guy who – you know, I get discipline right after I failed to exercise it. "Oh, I'm never going to do that again." Right? But I did notice your most recent tweet. And it was – you were retweeting something about the Swedish version of a company with the ticker symbol – it's a Canadian company called –
Chris Mayer: Yeah. Constellation Software. CSU.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Yep. So this is an interesting company to me because, I've covered Constellation brands – the alcoholic beverage company. And people will tell me – they'll be talking to me about Constellation. They'll say, "Man. That thing is up so much." And I'll think to myself, "Well, you know, it's done well. It's done OK." And then, they'll start talking about the longer-term record, which is like a major, major multibagger. You know, like from $20 or something 15 years ago to $1,900 today. Just huge.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I believe it's a 100-bagger now. I think if it's not, it's very close.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. So I'm just looking at – I just grabbed a MAX chart in Yahoo really quick... December '07, $25, and the price quoted here as I watch it is $1,931. So, you know, it's not $100 but who the hell cares?
Chris Mayer: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. We own that in the fund. And the more and more I learn about that company, the more and more I admire and respect what they've done. So and in Constellation also, they had a spinoff of a company in the Netherlands called Topicus. And so, if you owned Constellation you also got shares of Topicus. Which I think you got them – your cost basis was somewhere in the $20s. And it opened, I want to say, maybe somewhere in the $50s. And today, it's about $90. So it's the gift that keeps on giving. [Laughs] It's really a remarkable company, those guys. And the way they allocate capital, the way they think about it. That's exactly the kind of thing you want to have.
And their incentives are well-aligned. The way they incentivize their people and management teams and return on investment capital plus growth. And they have high hurdles on what they invest in... really, too high. And recently they've lowered it, which I think will give it a little extra rocket fuel because they were really high before. You know, 30%, let's say. And now, maybe they'll take it down to 25. Which would still be a remarkable result. And you want them to invest as much of that cash flow as they generate as possible. What they had done a couple times in recent years was pay a special dividend. But of course, if you have a business that can reinvest and earn 25 or 30%, you would rather they reinvest as much as possible.
Dan Ferris: Right. So if I didn't already know that you were talking about a software company, I'd think you were talking about a Berkshire imitator or something.
Chris Mayer: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: I'd think you were talking about a holding company.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. You know, it is kind of like – I have described it to my investors as a Berkshire of software companies because it is a holding company and they invest in software companies. Wholly owned for the most part but not always. And so, they own hundreds of software companies now across the world. And Topicus is a spinoff that's mostly focused in the Netherlands and Northern Europe, but otherwise it's the same kind of model. And then, this company Vitech – so Constellation is, what, I don't know, a $35 billion-dollar market cap company... Canadian, anyway. And Topicus is another few-billion. And then, this Vitech is even smaller. I think it may be $1.5 billion or something like that in the U.S. but similar model. They are kind of a holding company that then invests in smaller software companies.
And these are software companies that are called vertical market software companies or VMS. So it's different from horizonal. Horizonal market software would be something people probably know about. Like, Excel spreadsheet is horizontal because the means you can take that Excel – you can take an Excel spreadsheet and use it in any industry. It's industry-agnostic. It's not set up. Or any word processing – anything like that. Where a vertical market software is custom-tailored to a specific, narrow industry. So it might be, you know, how to run a school. It might be software around specifically geared for property management companies or software specifically geared toward running a gym or health club or something like that.
So there's lots and lots of these around, and they're great businesses. Because once they're implanted, they kind of become the dominant standard and people don't switch. And because they're such niche businesses, larger software companies don't bother going after them. And also, there's all kinds of regional differences. So if, you know, Vitech is focused in the Nordic region – so there's language barriers – it's not so easy even if you had a great software to run a beauty salon in the U.S., it wouldn't necessarily translate so well in Sweden. So these businesses are "mode-y," they're long term, they got regular price increase, they don't require a lot of capital. I mean, all good things if you're an investor here. Like, "Wow. I want that."
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Absolutely. And you want four things in particular, though. And we always talk about these when you come on the program. But we should review them, I think, just for any listeners who might not have heard your previous interview or might not be familiar with you. What are those four items that you call "the CODE" that you look for in every company you invest in?
Chris Mayer: Yeah. So C in CODE stands for "cheap." So I want an attractive valuation to start. O is one of the most important, and that's for "owner/operators." Basically, I want to invest with people who have skin in the game. D is for "disclosures." So public disclosures have to be something we can follow and understand. And E is for "excellent financial conditions." So I don't like to take balance sheet risks. All the companies I like to own have no debt or very little debt. And then, I overlay on top of those things – I look for, you know, a quality business. Something where there are good returns on capital and the ability to reinvest. So if you put all that together in a blender, you have a Woodlock House cocktail [laughs]. And yeah. So ideally, I like to own these businesses for a long time.
Dan Ferris: Forever even, maybe.
Chris Mayer: Forever even. Yeah. That would be ideal if I could own something and just, yeah, never sell it.
Dan Ferris: So the first – CODE, C-O-D-E, the first one is cheap. And I feel like that's the hardest one to do nowadays.
Chris Mayer: Well, I would agree with that. And I would also say that I think a lot of investors focus probably too much on raw multiples and don't necessarily consider that – I mean, most people understand that a higher multiple will go with something that grows more. So you always have to keep that in mind. But there's also the return on capital component. And a lot of times if a business is trading at 35 times earnings, let's say, or cash flow versus another business that might trade at 20, it's because the business is 35 times as... generating a lot higher returns on capital or it's less capital-intensive.
So, you know, you have to kind of learn to put these things on a sliding scale... something that – because some of these great businesses never look cheap on the surface, and yet they continue to just grow and grow and grow. And I know we own Heico, for example, as a stock that's almost never looked cheap. But it's been a very good compounder for a long period of time. Copart is another one we own. Similar. I mean, just recently put in 52-week highs but, again, never really looked cheap. So some of these businesses are like that. And so, cheap – when I say cheap, I become less focused on present-day multiples and I mean cheap more in relation to kind of price pay today against what I think may be the sum of future cash flows discounted to today.
So, you know, that's basically what every business is worth – is that. And it's more, theoretical to say it, obviously to know that. You can't know what cash the business is going to spit out over its life. But that's how the framework – you have to think about it. And if you think long term, some of these businesses that may look expensive today start to look cheaper because you see the compounding effect of their ability to earn those higher returns and reinvest and the consistency of them being able to do it. Another business that I've come to admire a lot, it doesn't really have a high return on capital. I think it's one you have two in your portfolio – Brown & Brown, the insurance brokerage.
Dan Ferris: Oh, yeah.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I mean, those guys-
Dan Ferris: Love it.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I love it too. I mean, the thing is, they don't earn that high a return. I mean, I think they are always 12-percent-ish, and that's probably a good way to think about it. But they're so consistent, and they're so good at capital allocation – so opportunistic about it – and just so smart the way they run their business. If you look at a long-term chart at something like Brown & Brown, it's just steadily up and to the right. You know, I love those kinds of things. Brown & Brown also, I should say, is family-owned and. And Paul Brown is the grandson of the founder. He's the current CEO. And yeah. I mean, they've been very disciplined about their balance sheet. They're opportunistic. In 2018, December 2018 when the share price took a dip along with everything else at the end of that year, they quickly put together a buyback authorization and bought back some stock. I mean, I love to see that kind of thing.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. And again. I guess it's just too easy to refer back to the example of Berkshire Hathaway. You know, when Brown & Brown makes an acquisition and it's just sort of... .they kind of leave it alone. You know, they just integrate it somewhat. You want to be able to, you know, spread cost across the greatest possible base. But they don't mess with the good thing that they've acquired, generally speaking.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. And they have good incentive. So when they buy something from somebody, they're not just buying it and then the guys that run it go away. You know, they stay aboard. They have earnouts so that they stick around and will still work hard and make the business work, and it works for Brown & Brown. So I like the companies that acquire and that not just are pure roll-ups where they're buying somebody out completely and the preexisting owner walks away but where they're able to use incentives and harness the talent that they're buying. Brown & Brown is great at that. Heico is great at that. They often leave the existing management team with a significant ownership stake in the business that they acquire. So they get their skin in the game that way. But, you know, the really good acquirers have a way of doing that. They have certain formulas. They have a way to, you know, reap those – way to use those incentives to get the best out of people.
Dan Ferris: And Heico – just, Chris, for the listeners' benefit, this is ticker HEI, that Heico?
Chris Mayer: Yeah. That's right. And Heico is the – you know, it's another kind of holding company structure. I mean, you know, half of their business is roughly, you know, aircraft replacement parts. And that's actually a very good business once you get approval from the FAA. You know, it's not easy to just decide to go build aircraft parts, much less get anyone to buy them. and they've never had a failure in any of their parts, so that's a good business. And then, the other part of their business is electronic technologies where they're involved in all kinds of things... pumps and motors and sometimes things that they're involved with the U.S. Navy or things that they're involved with the satellite. So that's another segment or another part of their business.
But you put that all together and that's another business that's very efficient with return on capital and all the good kind of things we like to see as investors. The Mendelson family owns it, the father and his two sons. And, you know, there's plenty of stories if you read past letters or you read transcripts about, you know... like, you used to hear stories like this about Microsoft about how secretaries become millionaires because they start with the company, stick with it and the company – you know, the employees own a piece of it as well and they're able to participate in the upside. So I like those kinds of stories. You know, culture's an important part of the research process for me, is trying to get a sense for, "How's the work with this place? Do people like working here? Do they stick around? You know, what are the incentives like?"
And those little things like that really add up over a long period of time. And that's why you can have these just remarkable results in something like Constellation Software or Berkshire or Brown & Brown. You know, it's more than just numbers. I’m sure if you go back in time you could've found other insurance brokerage companies that were somewhat in Brown & Brown's spot but nowhere – you know, forgotten today or nowhere near the success Brown & Brown has had. And, you know, we've talked about there's not been a lot of Berkshire imitators. So, you know, it's not so easy to duplicate that culture.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Maybe you hit on the reason why, just there at the end. It's trying to imitate the cultures too hard and financial people in general just don't want to operate that way because they all want to, you know, use the wrong kinds of leverage. Buffett used leverage but he did in a form of float. And they all way to, you know, make everything work every quarter so that the optics look good for the Wall Street analyst.
Chris Mayer: That's right.
Dan Ferris: So we don't get a lot of imitators. And it's strange. You know, we talked about – I've talked about this with other people and it comes up regularly. Why don't more people do this? And why don't more people have this like – they call it a culture of seamless trust. Like, Buffett and Munger, they onboard a new company, they buy a new company, and there's this seamless trust that they're going to – they know they've chosen well, so they're going to trust completely and not try to run that company. They bought it so the guy in charge could continue to run it. And also at their head office – which I think has a grand total of like 20 people or something – it's this culture of seamless trust. What does that say about us, man? Nobody in finance wants to do seamless trust.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I mean, people like that are pretty special. And yeah. And it's hard to replicate that. And for so long – because, you know, it's something like... .obviously, Buffett and Munger have been doing it for a very, very long time. And I suspect their people can do it for a while, but there's some temptation along the way. And maybe they go and get off track that way. But to do it for so long, that's the other thing that's remarkable about a lot of the companies we're talking about. Not like they've been great for five years. They've been great for 20 or 30 years. You know? Berkshire's case, a half century.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Yeah. Decades and decades. Half a century. It's amazing. And all the things you're talking about and, you know, the phenomena of Berkshire – it's all about this idea of compounding effects. You know, it's the difference between knowing what a – the difference in culture. It's a difference between understanding the extremely high value of those long-term compounding effects that you get when you're really careful to allocate to a business which has higher returns on capital, right? Because when you don't, you get like Japan.
And I think you and I have talked about this before, right? So the returns on capital are like 2%. So you're perennially getting these Japanese companies that are like net-nets... you know, less than the net current assets and the net cash and stuff. But on the other end of it, you're saying you're justified in paying, whatever it is, 35 times cash flows or something-
Chris Mayer: Right.
Dan Ferris: For a company that can do 30% or 40% on capital or something over time.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. I mean, essentially with Japan.
Dan Ferris: It's a huge lesson.
Chris Mayer: It is. It is. And I've looked at Japan many times, always something comes up. But that's always something I struggle with, is culturally, there are so many companies that are just different there, and they carry a lot of cash. And so, it really drags down the compounding you get as an investor.
Dan Ferris: You know what the funny thing is, Chris? The funny thing is, that culture is long-term-oriented beyond anything that we are familiar with, in the United States.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. That's what I was going to say.
Dan Ferris: And compounding is not great.
Chris Mayer: That's right. I was going to say there's a book out. I blogged about this a while ago. You may remember. It was Century Club or Lessons from Century Club Companies.
Dan Ferris: Yes.
Chris Mayer: And yeah. Of course, Japan has an outsized number of companies that have been around for a long time. In fact, they have a bunch of companies that have been around for more than 1,000 years.
Dan Ferris: [laughs] That's crazy
Chris Mayer: But that was an interesting study because it had – what it tried to kind of tease out, "What are some of the things that might predict that a company's going to be around for a long time, or what are some of the traits of these companies that have been a long time?" And of course, a lot of it was cultural. But it had little tidbits that I thought were interesting and things that may help you look for these things.
So one of them I remember had to do with these long-life businesses had close relationships with certain partners. So I remember that, for example, there was a shoe company that had gotten its leather from the same company since like 1930. You know? And there was another lumber company that had been doing business with a construction company for like 50 or 60 years. So they have these close corporate partnerships that have also developed and stayed for a long, long period of time. Now, that can also be a clue that perhaps there's something special there about the culture of those firms.
Dan Ferris: Right. They're focused overwhelmingly on survival.
Chris Mayer: Yeah.
Dan Ferris: But, you know, the thing is though, they're focused on survival but they wind up kind of being really way too cautious about allocating capital a lot of the time I think. And that's why you get those low returns on capital. But look how, you know, robust – or we might even say anti-fragile if we had Vitaliy Katsenelson in the conversation-
Chris Mayer: Yeah-
Dan Ferris: -How robust these companies are that do earn. You know, like Berkshire. You know, it's hard to put a dent in Berkshire. It's a really robust company. It's built for survival. And yet, it's also built for the higher returns on capital. So they're not mutually exclusive.
Chris Mayer: That's exactly right. I agree with that 100% there. Not mutually exclusive. And, you know, Constellation Software in the same way. I mean, you look at what they have done, they've done it without leverage. So it's just remarkable to have such a – I mean, Heico's another one that's minimal, minimal leverage. So these people have built high-return businesses without any financial leverage. Maintaining bullet-proof balance sheets the whole time. It's really amazing.
Dan Ferris: And we should – we have to mention – Chris, don't we – that you can't do this in every industry, right? They picked a good industry, didn't they?
Chris Mayer: They did. And yeah. That's also a good point. So certain industries are just going to be a lot more difficult, I suppose. Like, you think about... .well, let's look at like, it would be really tough to build something that great in, say, auto manufacturing. Pretty tough business. Very cyclical, very capital-intensive.
Dan Ferris: Yep.
Chris Mayer: I'm sure we could come up with a lot of examples of industries that are just really tough. But then, there are always exceptions. I mean, you look at airlines, you would say that's a pretty core business. But then, Southwest has been pretty successful. So there's always exceptions. But in general, yeah, industry matters quite a bit. Industry affiliation... yeah. Maybe that's a main factor.
Dan Ferris: I'm glad you mentioned Southwest because, really, I don't think you can separate the low-price model from the longevity of it and from the fact that it's in this commodity business, right? Like, there are limited ways in a commodity business that you could find that kind of success. And ultimately, if you don't have your – if you don't have the rock-bottom price most of the time and basically build a model that can handle that... and they did it. They used like the same airplane – everything is the same airplane so they can buy it in bulk and fix it in bulk and maintain it in bulk and whatever and other things too. You know, it's all – the industry really I think kind of dictated the model to a great degree.
Chris Mayer: Yeah. And, you know, three's some great stories early on about some of the decisions Southwest made... Herb Kelleher and his gang that are fascinating to read about. That reminds me. There's one other book that you could pass out to your listeners called the Intelligent Fanatics Project. And that has some great stories about Southwest and Sol Price and Price Club, other businesses as well. But, you know, you learn about how Southwest came from this really scrappy start, you know, and how they bested some bigger, well-funded competitors even when they're in their own state when they started... like Texas. They beat Braniff Airlines which was quite a feat.
So, you know, I don't remember – so I remember one story in particular where they had the same route with Braniff. And I don't remember what the route was – between two Texas cities. And they were cheaper, but Braniff then matched their price. And so, Southwest was trying to figure out what to do and they came up with this idea where... they figured out that a lot of it was business travel. And so, they offered – it was a slightly higher price, but they offered their passengers a choice of an alcoholic beverage... something like one-fifth of whiskey or this, that or the other thing. There's like three or four different choices.
And that proved very popular because business travelers were OK paying slightly higher fare because then the people on the plane get to keep the whiskey. And for a little while there, Southwest was the largest alcoholic distributer in the State of Texas when they ran this thing [laughs]. So it was creative stories like that – early-going, too – that solidified Southwest's position. There are a lot of interesting little decisions they made along the way that it's a good case study in how to make it in a very, very tough business.
Dan Ferris: So, Chris, you've actually given us quite a few names – like Constellation, Topicus, Vitech, Copart, Brown & Brown. Just for our listeners' sake, because I know they're curious – I know what they're thinking – is there one of those names or some other name right now that you are particularly excited about at recent valuations as a new investment? [Laughs] No. That sounds like a no.
Chris Mayer: That's an interesting caveat. Yeah. Because the last two businesses that I bought were in the first quarter. I bought Topicus and I bought Evolution Gaming in Sweden... online casino. And both those have moved up quite a bit since I bought them. Topicus is maybe up 40%. Evolution's probably up – I don't know – a similar amount maybe. So I think all of these are still great businesses to own long term. I know people are generally put off by things after they've run. But as I like to remind people, I did that book 100-Baggers, and that was a study of the best-performing stocks over the 50 years or so before.
And it added on to the study that Thomas Phelps done, 100 to 1, which looked at all the stocks that had gone up 100-to-1 from like '32 to '72 or whenever he published that book. And one of the things you learn is that a lot of these great stocks and best performers spend a lot of time in 52-week highs. Which makes sense, right? I mean, if you're going to be one of the best performers over a long period of time, you're going to be putting in 52-week highs pretty regularly. So I would say don't be put off by stocks that are near their 52-week highs. And so, yeah. I mean, I like all of them. You know, as I say, I haven't... actually, yeah. I did add a little bit to Evolution on the dip. So there you go. I mean, that is an interesting one.
And yeah. Their earnings are going to come out here probably in a week or so. Yeah. I would get in ahead of that. I suspect they're going to have really good earnings and have – they did a big acquisition. Those numbers will be in their report. And it's just a company that continually knocks it out of the park, so I really like that one. It's basically an online casino. It's become very, very popular. It's a global phenomenon. And they're the best at it. Miles ahead of their competition. Again. There's a lot of insider ownership, great balance sheet, and really, really high returns on capital. So it has all the things we talked about and I’m pretty excited about that position.
Dan Ferris: All right. Wow. And, you know, there may be a short-term catalyst in the form of earnings. I mean, what more could anyone want? We've been talking for a while, and it's time for the final question. You've been through this exercise once before, but I'll ask the question... restate the question. And it is simply, if you could leave our listener with one idea, one thought today, what would it be?
Chris Mayer: One idea or one thought. Well, let's leave them with the idea to be very patient with your investments... to spend a lot of time thinking about what you want to invest in. And then when you invest in it, leave it alone. I am always amazed when I look back – researching different stocks and things – what they're able to do over a long period of time. "Long period of time" meaning, let's say, a decade. Sometimes it's very hard to model these things, and it's just such a surprise when you have a good business and a good company and what they can do over a 10-year span.
But of course, you're not going to get that benefit if you're constantly looking at your stocks and making changes. I mean, you mentioned Constellation which a decade ago was trading at probably $60 a share and today is $1,900 and how many people modeling quarterly earnings and fretting over everything back then could've possibly imagined that the stock would be up that much. So time is the essential element and patience is key. So I would just say – at least for some piece of your investments – be patient, leave it alone.
Dan Ferris: Excellent. Absolutely. Equity is a long-term investment.
Chris Mayer: It is.
Dan Ferris: By its nature. All right. Well, thanks. Thanks a lot for that and for just coming back and talking with us.
Chris Mayer: Dan, any time. I always enjoy talking to you, and I hope your listeners get something about what we talked about. I know there was a lot of stuff in there [laughs]. And fortunately, you can always find me on Twitter. You know, so I'm there and my blog. So I'm out there and available as well.
Dan Ferris: Yeah. Hey, everybody. I’m serious. Follow Chris Mayer's Twitter feed. It's really excellent. Thanks a lot, Chris, and I guess we'll talk to you again soon.
Chris Mayer: Yep. Take care, Dan.
Dan Ferris: [Music plays and stops] Always a pleasure to talk with my old friend, Chris Mayer. Chris and I got into the newsletter business around the same time. Not too far apart. I think he got in a few years after me and I've been at it for 24 years now. So maybe he was at it like 20 years or something. And he and I were on the value side and we had this funny thing going where his picks did well and my picks did well, but when we both picked the same stock it was a real dud. Like almost every single time [laughs]. And I'm really happy for his success. He's turned out to be – in my mind, of all the investors who sort of came out of the newsletter business... right?
Some investors go into the newsletter business, but some people go into the newsletter business and come out of it as professional investors. And Chris is like tops – to me, he's number one of all the people who came out of it. That approach of his, that disciplined long-term approach, is – it's unbeatable. That is how the big money is made in stocks. People talk about trading and trying to make money over a week or a day or a month or even a year. Even a year is too short. And so, Chris just – he's not anywhere near that. You heard him say 10 years, right?
Hold your – be ready to hold for 10 years. Don't go in every quarter looking to make a move and sell or buy or something. Once you buy a stock, hang on to it for a long time. And that's some of the – it's always the simple advice, you know, that is the most powerful but, usually with investing, emotionally the most difficult. The other thing besides patience that he talked about that I think is super important – you can't emphasize this enough – you heard us talking about the difference between companies that earn low returns on capital – we mentioned Japan. You know, these companies are perennially cheap and they get... you know, when the market's down there's a whole bunch of them.
And then, the market's up and there's still a few of them left [laughs]. And they earn really low returns on capital... like low single-digits. And they always have a lot of cash that they're not using... versus the companies that Chris mentioned... the Constellation, Heico, Copart, Brown & Brown. And we mentioned Berkshire Hathaway. Same thing. They put their cash to work in very good, high-return-on-capital businesses. And learning that difference alone, it's just about the single most powerful thing you can do. You combine that with patience... and it's not hard to make money in stocks except emotionally. It's not technically difficult anymore once you learn that, but emotionally it's always the same challenge.
You know, the market's down, your stocks are down. You want to sell. You feel like you're losing money. You feel bad. But if you're holding those really great businesses like the one Chris mentioned and many others that we could mention... and we even mentioned Constellation, the beverage company that I recommended in my newsletter. You know, these are great long-term holds. And you have to, have to, learn how to do that to make the big money in stocks. Great talk. I love talking with Chris. It is always highly productive. He gave us lots of names. He said you could buy Evolution Gaming now, and it's probably a really good long-term bet still and might have a good short-term catalyst with earnings coming out soon. Really, really great talk.
All right. Let's take a look at the mailbag. Let's do that right now. [Music plays and stops] I want to share a quick story about a man named Ken Langone, the son of Italian immigrants, Langone describes himself as a dumb kid from Long Island that barely got out of high school and almost flunked out of college. Langone's dad was a plumber. His mom worked in a school cafeteria. But Langone lived the American Dream. He went from $82 a week to one of the richest people in the world. Langone's most famous move was an early investment in Home Depot, which enabled him to become a co-founder of what is now the biggest business of its kind in the world with 2,000-plus stores and 400,000 stores in North America.
Because of Langone's Home Depot connection, he has unique insights into the current status of the U.S. economy. The labor shortages, supply chain issues, soaring prices, and increasing inflation. And that's why it was telling to see Ken Langone go public on CNBC recently with an alarming prediction. He also says the government is already creating major distortions and that the people they are trying to help are the ones who are going to get hurt the most. And my colleague, a former Goldman Sachs banker – Dr. David Eifrig – agrees. He says, "Most Americans are completely unprepared for what's about to take place in our country." What exactly is going on and what has these successful and wealthy Americans so concerned?
Go online to get the facts about this urgent warning by visiting www.loomingeconomywarning.com. That website, again, is www.loomingeconomywarning.com. [Music plays and stops] In the mailbag each week, you and I have an honest conversation about investing or whatever is on your mind. Just send your questions, comments, and politely worded criticisms to [email protected] I read as many e-mails as time allows and respond to as many as possible. You can also call our listener feedback line, 800-381-2357. Tell us what's on your mind and hear your voice on the show. Lots of good stuff this week.
And just generally speaking there were lots of e-mails that said they really enjoyed last week's interview with Lawrence Lindsey. If you haven't listened to it, might want to check it out. First up this week is Al M. Al M. writes in all the time. I love his e-mails, and he's got a simple question. He says, "You do recommend buying gold and silver through phys and p-silv, but they are falling. So what gives?" All the best, Al M." So phys – PHYS – and p-silv – PSLV – those are the ticker symbols for the Sprott silver... or, I'm sorry, gold and silver trusts respectively.
And, well, Al, they just rise and fall with the price of gold and silver. That's all there is to it. So that's why the share price of those things rise and fall. Why it's happening lately? Hey, man. You know me. I'm long term with gold and silver. I just buy it intending never to sell it. So that's all I can tell you, Al. That's it. It's a long-term holding, you know, rising and falling in the short-term is just none of my concern at all. But it's a good question. Next comes Mike B.
And Mike B. says, "Hi, Dan. Longtime listener and Alliance member. I was disappointed in your answer to the gentleman that wanted to know how to short the market." This was a question in last week's mailbag. Mike B. continues. "You failed to mention the easiest way of all – inverse ETFs. Simple as buying a stock without the margin requirements of shorting stocks directly or using futures. Doesn't have the big bang reward of put options but certainly can give exposure to the short side and the risk can be controlled with proper stop management. Take care. Mike B." There you go, Mike. I don't need to say anything more than that, and you're right. I failed to mention it. Shorting is hard. It’s not for most people. Most people should not do it.
Next comes Mike W. And Mike W. says, "Hi, Dan. Really enjoyed the latest episode with Lawrence Lindsey. His provocative final thought about the next decade being a scramble for survival has been rolling around in my mind ever since." And then, he says he's either contemplating buying permanent life insurance or somebody recommended that he buy it. Then he says, "Permanent life insurance seems to make sense during an era of sound money and permanently low inflation, but it looks to me like we have left that era in the rearview. I know you can't give specific advice, but what's your take on permanent life insurance in general but especially in an era of inflation? Thanks in advance for reading and keep up the great work. Best, Mike W."
I have life insurance, but I didn't get it until I was in my late 50s. So maybe I'm a different – you say you're in your 30s, you and your wife are in your 30s and you're healthy. So it's a good question. My only question for anybody about life insurance is, you know, "Is it something that you would be OK not having?" That's the only really general thing I can ask about this. If you're not comfortable not having it, then you might [laughs] want to get it. If you're comfortable not having it because you've got plenty of net worth and you know if something happens to you, for example, that your spouse will rather easily inherit and take over your assets or whatever, it won't be a big problem legally, then maybe you don’t need it.
But as far as inflation goes, again, think... inflation can become terrible, right? And over your lifetime – if you're 30 and you live to be 90 or 100, I mean... 60, 70 years. Well, first of all, if you live to be 90 or 100, life insurance probably isn't going to do your spouse a lot of good. You know, maybe – I don't know if they're going to live to be 90 or 100 either. But at some point along the way, it may be something that you'll be glad you had or that your spouse will be glad you had. But the inflation question is a good one. And I believe that my question still covers it. Even with inflation will you be OK not having it. Put it that way.
And the answer is up to you, Mike. But as you can tell, I'm struggling with it. It's an excellent question. And that really is the only way I have of addressing it, right? Because if you have a $200,000 life insurance policy now and say something happens to you – you know, you pass away – in 40 years when inflation was really vicious for the next 40 years, $200,000 might feel at that time like $20,000 feels today. It might feel like nothing. So, you know, it's a good question and that's all I got for you. Thank you, Mike. That's actually a really good thought exercise and I hope everyone listening sort of thinks about it themselves.
Edwin M. is next. He says, "Good morning, Dan." Well, [laughs] good morning, Edwin, wherever you are in the world that it's morning. "I just got done listening to your interview with Lawrence Lindsey, and I must say his final thought about the next decade being a fight for survival is how I have felt for the last few years. The one thing I would've liked to hear you bring up is cryptos. This in my mind is the wild card in the next decade." And then, he mentions China's and our own monstrosity of a government's wild quest for total dominance and control and says, "Could this crypto be humanity's last chance at freedom as our founding fathers envisioned – a people mostly free from government manipulation and control of the essential necessities of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? Would love to hear your thoughts. Sincerely, Edwin M."
Well, Edwin, this strikes me as a request for a prediction, right? Could this – but you are framing it properly. You're saying, "Could this be?" Sure, it could be. But my perspective is, whether it could be or not you're prepared for whatever crypto gets you by owning some. That's the very best that I can do. I can't tell you what the future's going to look like. But if I put a little bit of money into crypto and it becomes – if it becomes not so important, well then my other assets should take care of me, right?
If it becomes extremely important and is the one thing you need to have, my assumption is that the value of, say, bitcoin – the biggest crypto by market cap, I would assume the value of bitcoin would be much higher than it is today. So, you know, having a little bit now could get you a major, major multibagger and protect you against whatever else is happening in the world in the future. And that really – those are my thoughts, Edwin. That's the best that I believe I can do. "And, you know, could it be humanity's last chance at freedom as our founding fathers envisioned?"
And it makes sense that you're saying, "Well, if we have bitcoin or whatever crypto you like – if we have bitcoin, let's just say, and the U.S. dollar continues its long, slow slide to nothing and maybe accelerates and maybe this big sort of looming thing that people talk about the U.S. dollar losing its status as the global reserve currency – maybe that happens or begins to happen during our lifetime. So things change a lot. And those other assets I mentioned maybe are impacted negatively by that. Certainly the government would be in major clamp-down mode and major – what did we talk about, Lawrence Lindsey? Taxation and confiscation mode. So having crypto could help you out.
But, you know, if bitcoin turns into the world's currency, it's not going to make us all free... politically free. So, you know, I don't think it is, anyway. [Laughs] But it's an interesting thought to contemplate it that way, Edwin, and I thank you for the question. Lots of good stuff this week in the mailbag just for, you know, food for thought. I hope when you finish the podcast this week that you'll think about some of this stuff. because they're really good questions. Is permanent life insurance for you if you're 30 years old and we get inflation for the next 50 years? It's a question worth asking. You know? "And what about crypto," as Edwin M. was asking. "You know, is it going to make us all free in the future or should we just have it?"
There's lots of good stuff this week in the mailbag, so I hope you're as excited about it as I am. Let's just put it that way, and I hope it gives you food for thought too and that you enjoy it. Because that's another mailbag, and that's another episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. And I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. And I really did. We provide a transcript for every episode. Just go to www.investorhour.com. Click on the episode you want, scroll all the way down, and click on the word "transcript" and enjoy. If you liked this episode, send someone else a link to the podcast so [music starts] that we can continue to grow.
Anyway, you know who might enjoy the show, just tell them to check it out on their podcast app or at investorhour.com. And do me a favor, would you? Subscribe to the show on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts. And while you're there, help us grow with a rate and a review. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Our handle is @InvestorHour. Follow us on Twitter where our handle is @Investor_Hour. If you have a guest you want me to interview, drop me a note: [email protected] or call the listener feedback line, 800-381-2357. Tell us what's on your mind and hear your voice on the show. Till next week. I'm Dan Ferris. Thanks for listening.
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